On April 1st, the Short Mystery Fiction Society announced the finalists for the 2017 Derringer Awards. I didn’t see the news until late, so when a pal emailed me, I wondered if it might be an April Fool’s joke. Fortunately, it wasn’t: my “Swan Song” is up for Best Long Story. “Swan Song” was published last year in one of my all-time favorite anthologies, UNLOADED: CRIME WRITERS WRITING WITHOUT GUNS, edited by Eric Beetner. Publishers Weekly singled “Swan Song” out for praise when they reviewed the collection, and it’s an incredible honor to be a Derringer finalist. The story can be read online by members of the Short Mystery Fiction Society. And if you haven’t picked up UNLOADED yet, now would be a great time! Buy it from Amazon, Nook, Kobo, IndieBound, or at your favorite independent bookstore.
I’ve written before about Great Jones Street, the phenomenal app that allows you to read countless short stories. Calling it the Netflix of short fiction is no exaggeration (except that GJS is free, which makes it even better). GJS bought four of my stories last fall, and it recently gave them gorgeous cover art and started featuring them on the app. “A Special Kind of Hell” was last Friday’s feature, then “A Hopeless Case” on Monday, “Magpie” on Tuesday, and “The Siege” yesterday. Without meaning to, I took over the app’s start screen, which makes me proud, but also very grateful to the GJS team for their support.
I’ve been making plans to do more with the GJS crew, so stay tuned for developments. In the meantime, please download the app. There’s no downside: it’s free, and you get great fiction from a wide array of authors at your fingertips. Happy reading!
I’ve already mentioned how much I love Great Jones Street, the free app that has quickly become the Netflix of short fiction. Today, my story “A Special Kind of Hell,” is featured on the app. Read it now — for free — by following this link. (If you don’t yet have the app, it’s available for iPhones and Android; download it now.) Happy reading!
Have you heard about Great Jones Street? If you haven’t downloaded this free app yet, do it now (here’s the App Store link and one for Google Play). Billed as the “Netflix of short fiction,” GJS delivers terrific stories in a wide range of categories — crime, horror, romance, science fiction, and Western, to name a few — and lets you read them for free. What’s not to love? I was honored when they contacted me, and they now have four of my stories available on the app: “A Hopeless Case,” which won the Derringer Award for Best Short Story; “The Siege,” which was a finalist for the Anthony Award and the Arthur Ellis Award; “A Special Kind of Hell,” which appeared in a Beat to a Pulp print collection; and “Magpie,” which appeared in the first-ever print edition of Thuglit. Happy reading!
I was in Banff, Alberta, last week, so I missed some amazing news: superstar reviewer Oline Cogdill published her list of the best mystery fiction of 2016, and she included UNLOADED: CRIME WRITERS WRITING WITHOUT GUNS. I’ve been in plenty of collections, but this one is especially close to my heart. The concept behind it was to have crime writers pen dark and disturbing stories, only without guns in them. It was Eric Beetner’s brainchild, and while it took a long time for the project to find a home, in the end it found a perfect one with Down & Out Books. All of the writers donated stories, with the proceeds of the books going to the nonprofit States United to Prevent Gun Violence. As Eric wrote in his introduction:
From best sellers and writing legends to the brightest stars of the next generation of crime writers, the twenty-five authors here have taken pen in hand to say enough is enough. Gun violence has got to stop and this is our way of speaking out — by showing that gun violence can be removed from the narrative, and maybe from our lives.
It’s not anti-gun, it’s pro-sanity. And above anything else, these are thrilling crime stories that will surprise and shock, thrill and chill — all without a gun in sight.
If you haven’t checked out UNLOADED, I hope you will now. My contribution to the collection, “Swan Song,” is particularly twisted, and so are the contributions of the other writers, including Joyce Carol Oates, Joe R. Lansdale, Reed Farrel Coleman, Alison Gaylin, Rob Hart, Joe Clifford, Holly West, Thomas Pluck, Tom Pitts, and a host of terrific talents. UNLOADED is available in print and as an eBook; buy it from Amazon, Nook, Kobo, IndieBound, or at your favorite independent bookstore. It makes a great holiday gift!
On Sunday night, we had a special election-themed edition of Noir at the Bar in New York. I wrote a story called “In the Bunker” just for that occasion. I wasn’t originally planning to publish it, but I’m thrilled to say that it’s found a home online at Flash Fiction Offensive. Thanks to Tom Pitts for picking it up (and for adding some very appropriate photos and art). Happy Election Day!
Also: vote. Seriously, no matter what you have going on today, vote. (I live in a state that doesn’t allow early voting. Kudos and thanks to everyone who stood in those long lines in other states to vote over the past few days.) Need to find your polling place? Google’s got it. VOTE.
Tonight’s Noir at the Bar NYC is going to be a little different. Usually, authors read a work in progress, a chapter of a book, or a recently published story. This time, the authors — Rob Hart, Jason Pinter, Angel Colon, Thomas Pluck, Nick Kolakowski, Eryk Pruitt, and me — have written original stories just for this event. The (deplorable) fun starts at 6pm tonight at Shade Bar (corner of Sullivan and West 3rd Street), with Jen Conley and Scott Adlerberg hosting. All welcome. Hope to see you there!
Not going to lie: October snuck up on me. The one good thing about that is it’s already time for Noir at the Bar Queens! This Sunday, I’ll be reading with a terrific crew, including Dennis Tafoya, Rob Hart, Jen Conley, Dave White, Alex Segura, Scott Adlerberg, Greg Rossi, and Juliet Fletcher. We’ll be at The Beast Next Door (has any Noir at the Bar venue ever had a more appropriate name?), 42-51 27th St., Long Island City, right by the Queensboro Plaza station. The fun starts at 6pm. Hope to see you there!
I’ve been looking forward to this year’s Bouchercon ever since I heard that New Orleans would be the host. I’ve only visited once before, but the city holds a special place in my heart, because it helped me launch my freelance writing career. (I was so inspired by NOLA’s cemeteries that I had to write about them, even though the magazine that employed me never ran pieces like that; six months later, I quit my job and never looked back!)
I’m also excited because my story “The Siege” is a finalist for the Anthony Award for Best Short Story. (Have you had the chance to read it yet? Ellery Queen now has it online, and it’s also available through the Bouchercon website.) I couldn’t be more honored to be nominated, and I love that I’m in great company.
Here’s where to find me at Bouchercon:
Thursday, Sept. 15, 6:30pm-9pm: Bouchercon’s Opening Ceremonies will have a lot going on, and part of that will be an introduction of the Anthony Award nominees.
Friday, Sept. 16, 10:30am: Tor/Forge will be giving away paperback copies of BLOOD ALWAYS TELLS at its hospitality suite, and I’ll be on hand to sign them. I’ll also be dropping in on the suite throughout the day for Forge Author Bingo, so please say hello. (I may even be able to help you win a prize!)
Friday, Sept. 16, 8pm-9:30pm: The Anthony Awards ceremony will be at the Orpheum Theater, 129 Roosevelt Way.
Saturday, Sept. 17, noon-1pm: I’m on the panel ”Once in a Lifetime — How Did I Get Here?” with Kate Malmon (moderator), Angel Luis Colon, Jess Lourey, Russel McLean, and Jay Stringer. If you could see our email exchanges behind the scenes, you’d know we’re all crazy. This is going to be fun!
Oh, what a weekend! Deadly Ink started on Friday night with a dessert party and panel, and went nonstop until Sunday afternoon. It was a busy time for me, because I was the Toastmaster and my friend Reed Farrel Coleman was the Guest of Honor, so we had a full schedule of events. And while I wasn’t as good about taking photos as I meant to be, I had friends snap a few for the record books. Huge thanks to Debby Buchanan (who organized Deadly Ink), E.J. Watkins (who interviewed me during our Sunday brunch event), Roberta Rogow (“the voice of Deadly Ink!”), and everyone else who made the weekend so much fun!
With Reed at the opening night party on Friday.
Part of my job as Toastmaster was interviewing the Guest of Honor on Saturday morning. Reed and I had fun with that!
My ”Roaming the Globe: Mysteries Set Outside the USA” panel with Roberta Rogow (moderator), Annamaria Alfieri, and A.J. Sidransky.
Introducing Reed at the Saturday night gala.
Reed making his keynote speech.
Conference organizer Debby Buchanan presenting Jack Getze and A.J. Sidransky with their David Awards (tied vote for the award this year).
Very happy to meet my Twitter pal @dimesleuth in person at last!
Sunday morning “What If?” panel with Jane Kelly, Reed, and Annamaria. This one got crazy!
Being interviewed by E.J. Watkins
Sunday afternoon “Coming Attractions” panel. L to R: Jack Getze, me, Reed, Bruce DeSilva, Jeff Markowitz, E.J. Watkins, and Nina Mansfield, who stepped in as moderator at the last minute and did a fabulous job. Not sure why we look so serious here…
…Because this panel was a lot of fun. It was a great note to end on!